Economic Empowerment Project

Survivors’ Giving Circle Financial Education Project


Since 2006, the MCEDSV Survivors' Giving Circle has worked to advance, protect and strengthen empowerment-based economic justice programs, policies and initiatives. The important economic justice work of the Survivors' Giving Circle has been generously supported by the Allstate Foundation in recent years.


The latest initiative utilized the Allstate "Moving Ahead Through Money Management" curriculum. MCEDSV sponsored a Training of Trainers, for 40 economic justice advocates across the state and a Dress for Success program benefitting up to 200 survivors in Detroit.

I Am For Survivors

I Am for Survivors (Increasing Accessibility in Michigan for Survivors)


The I Am for Survivors project was generously supported by the Arcus Foundation in 2009. The project's goals were to:


  • Create safe, accessible support services for LBGTIQ survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Improve access and services to marginalized communities within the LBGTIQ communities through awareness and understanding of issues facing them.
  • Increase awareness and education throughout the state around the multiple issues facing LBGTIQ survivors.


To achieve these goals, MCEDSV staff and a community-based project advisory council conducted a survivor-focused needs assessment, agency audits and implemented training.


Fourteen agencies were recruited to complete agency audits for the purpose of assessing barriers to service. Agencies participating in the project also received initial eight-hour training on Examining Domestic and Sexual Violence in LBGTIQ Communities. The training, developed by the MCEDSV LBGTIQ and Allies Task Force, focuses on the effects of oppression on lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender people, exploring similarities and differences between domestic and sexual violence experienced by LBGTIQ survivors and heterosexual survivors, and examining barriers and special consideration when working with LBGTIQ survivors.


With support from Drs. Cris Sullivan and Ruben Parra Cardona from Michigan State University (MSU), MCEDSV designed a needs assessment to conduct individual interviews with survivors of domestic and sexual violence from LBGTIQ communities. Survivors disclosed significant barriers such as receiving homophobic comments from helping professionals or not being believed by friends and family. Others disclosed that PPOs (personal protection orders) were denied or that they felt pressure to stay, sometimes due to children or for the sense of community created by the relationship. Much like all survivors, survivors from LBGTIQ communities expressed a desire for safe, validating and nonjudgmental services from any helping professional.

Building the Safety Net Project

The vision was to establish a permanent infrastructure of highly‐trained leaders with the knowledge and skills to implement community‐based solutions, creating a community rich with resources to tackle the unmet needs of survivors in Detroit. BSN continues to work as a partner to strengthen six domestic violence agencies through leadership development, skill building, training, mentorship, and organizational development.


In 2011, MCEDSV provided more than 150 hours of comprehensive domestic violence training to advocates with less than five years of experience. In addition, nearly 50 hours were devoted to professional development that covered a variety of topics that ranged from advanced legal advocacy and economic justice to developing cultural competence in underserved communities.


BSN partners received approximately 600 hours of technical assistance. While the majority of contacts with the partner agencies were on‐site consultation, assistance also included research and follow‐up, email and telephone communication. The project also completed feasibility studies on a Detroit‐based hotline for the Detroit‐metro area as well as sexual assault services assessment for area programs.


MCEDSV is deeply grateful to the McGregor Fund, its staff and trustees for entrusting us to carry out this profoundly important work in Detroit.


Success stories

LBGTIQ & Allies Task Force



To encourage improved and more inclusive services to lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning (LBGTIQ) survivors, and to provide a supportive and inclusive working environment for LBGTIQ & A service provider staff and volunteers,  the LBGTIQ & Allies Task Force will:


  • As part of the MCEDSV, enhance and increase access to advocacy and services for lesbians, bisexuals, gay men, and transgender individuals who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Help develop more supportive and inclusive working environments for LBGTIQ service providers
  • Provide education to member agencies and the public‐at large on issues related to heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia as they relate to the unique dynamics of LBGTIQ domestic and sexual violence
  • Work to affect positive social change in the LBGTIQ community and the domestic and sexual violence movement(s).
  • Confront heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in the movement and in member agencies


To learn more about the work of the LBGTIQ and Allies Task Force, please contact MCEDSV at 517-347-7000.


For more information on supporting LBGTIQ survivors of domestic or sexual violence, please use the links below and visit the Resources Section of this website.


Becoming an Ally: A Guide for Service Providers and Community Members


What Does the "A" in LBGTIQ/A Really Stand For?


Relationship Violence in LBGTIQ Communities (Brochure)


Sexual Assault in LBGTIQ Communities (Brochure)


Our efforts focus on building capacity for development and evaluation of locally based strategies by providing training and technical assistance statewide, while funding and supporting the primary prevention initiatives in two local communities:

  • Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), Dearborn
  • LA VIDA/Southwest Detroit Partnership to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence Against Latina Women, Detroit

MCEDSV staff, including an Empowerment Evaluator, help these communities implement both process and outcome evaluation measures. Efforts also include inclusion of local community partners in the development and implementation of both state and local Action Plans.

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